Nutritional support and care services for urban adult people living with HIV/AIDS : a case study from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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It is well known that nutritional status plays an important role in preventing opportunistic infections as it improves immunity system. Not so rnuch is known about how people living with HTV/AIDS manage their nutrition and thc difficulties encountered in accessing support and other services necessary for maintaining their nutrition and health and improve quality of li fe. In this study, persons with HIVIAIDS wcre asked to tell about nutrition support and care services provided by both formal and informal institutions in the society. Using a scmistructured interview guide in this study, the author conducted in-depth interviews with ten intervicwccs of both men and women. Information was also obtained fiom informants fiom relevant organisations espccially AIDS Service organisation (ASOs), and departments in ininistries. Thematic approach was employed in data analysis. The categories identified to explain the problems of the HIV-positive persons in managing their nutrition and health included Nutrition perception and knowledge, source of income and stigma related to HIVIAIDS. Others were adherence and access to medication and medical monitoring, gender related cultural practices in the society, support from informal and formal institutions, and challenges for NGOs in providing services. The findings from this study showed that a large number of people living with HIV/AIDS rely on AIDS organisations for support services they need. Access to services in public institutions like governrnent hospitals was difficult. The findings als0 show that support for people living with HIVIAIDS from relatives was limited and this could be due to stigma attached to the disease and difficult economic situation whereby relatives have little resources for their own families. In addition, challenges to meet basic life need for themselves and their families were found to be important concern for interviewees. This study calls for more research on nutrition and experiences of people with HIVIAIDS about their health and nutritional management. This will give understanding on how already infected individuals and affected families can be supported in order to live as long as possible without progressing into AIDS disease.
Mastergradsoppgave i "Comparative social work" - Høgskolen i Bodø, 2006